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Need last minute gift ideas for Father's Day, June 19th?  Books & More has many books for the guy in your life, such as fishing, golf or hiking books. Your man is not a sports nut? He might like Fresh Water Boys, stories involving males by Adam Schuitema, or Splitting Wood, essays by Grand Rapids native, Tom Rademacher who has spoken on NPR. Add a humorous Leanin' Tree card and let the man in your life know he is special. You can also find gift ideas on our website,
Review of Kevin J. Sweeney's autobiography, Father Figures                              by Kevin Kissinger  
     This father's day, I look forward to enjoying another holiday with my father who has always been there for me and set an example of honesty, humor, compassion and empathy that I continuously try and emulate. Meanwhile I understand that the holiday will not be the same for countless others who won't have a father present to appreciate. When I found the book, "Father Figures" by Kevin J. Sweeney, I immediately wanted to highlight it for this month's upcoming holiday.
     What began as an article on published in November 2001, expanded into the memoir by Sweeney two years later. Reflecting on his childhood solution to adopting to a life without a father, his story is an inspiring and touching narrative for anyone.
From the article, Not exactly fatherless
Like a lot of men who were killed Sept. 11, my dad died young and left children. At 7, I made a secret plan to cope with his loss, and it worked.
    Several years after my father died, I began to worry about what I might lack as someone who grew up without a dad. I remember, at the age of 7, worrying about whether I could ever be a good father if I didn't have a father. In the hazy minutes between bedtime and sleep, I would linger over the fact that I would not have the classic point of reference -- my old man -- in crucial moments of maleness or parenthood. I really don't know why I saw this particular need. It may have come from the image of television fathers, the ones who sat on the edge of the bed and had the perfect words to close the week's episode. It may have come from Catholicism, a grand influence in our household, and its emphasis on male leaders. It may have been that I missed my dad terribly, and replaced my sadness with a worry. Whatever my motivation, I figured out a plan. It was mysterious, in that I am not entirely sure how I came up with it, and it was secret, in that I told no one else. ...I picked out three men from our working-class community and decided that they would teach me how to be a father. None of them would know about their surrogacy, but I would watch them closely. And sometimes my surveillance would extend to contact: They were all friends of my family and I would be in a position, from time to time, to ask them for advice or hang out with them. ...I watched Jim Gaffney, Sherm Heaney and Chick Kelly for many years. When our families got together, I would loiter in the living room with the grown-ups, watching the fathers go about their business. I watched the dads in the park with their own kids, and in the stands, when I played ball. I watched the fathers watching their sons. I watched them shake hands, hug and kiss. I watched them be husbands, watched how they treated their wives. I saw how kind they were to my mother. Their words would break through the cacophony of a christening party or a wedding and I would listen carefully: These were the words of a good father, I would think, a father that I myself had chosen.
I realize that I have nothing to offer the mothers who find themselves suddenly alone, except maybe to say that your kids aren't just resilient, they are likely to be creative in their grief. But I do have advice for the men in the Bronx and Queens and Staten Island and all around New York and Arlington who might find themselves haunted by kids who keep hanging around, or look like they might want to: Laugh at the bad jokes and tell some that you remember from fourth grade; ask about their batting stance and whether it changes with two strikes; go to a movie -- even the new Martin Lawrence movie -- then go again. Look them in the eye when you ask how they're doing.
And remember: You don't need to be perfect. You just need to show up.
A special event is happening June 21st and YOU can be a part of it by being a performer or part of an audience.  June 21st is the beginning of summer and that means  Fete De La Musique time. Amateur and professional musicians, individuals and groups, are welcome to provide music that night from 4 PM to midnight. There is no charge to play or to listen.  Come join the festivities. You may even find a new favorite music style or new performers. Musicians interested in playing should contact
classic carThe 10th Annual Red, White And Blue Cruise-In will be Thursday, June 30th from 5-9PM. Come down and see the classic cars on the bricks (Superior Street) that night. Books & More will have delicious smoothies for sale in front of the store. In addition if you wear a combination of red, white and blue and tell us, "I have read, white and blue on", you will receive10% off on any purchase in the bookstore.  The event is sponsored by the Albion Downtown Development Authority (DDA) .The DDA has done a great deal of work promoting our town. Be sure to do your part also. Show the classic car owners and other visitors to Albion the love we have for our town and for classic cars by attending this popular event. This cruise-in is also a forerunner for the Fourth of July holiday and will get one in the mood for summer events.  Don't forget to wear red, white, and blue.
Save July 16th from 11 AM -12:30 PM for a visit to Books & More for a special presentation. We aren't giving away details just yet but this will be an unusual program with a popular local presenter. We are giving this notice so you save the date.
Dorothy Dickerson
Books & More/Real Coffee